Do you have an infected belly button piercing? What are some of the signs and symptoms you expect to have? Learn more about infected navel piercing including causes, symptoms, care tips, cleaning, healing or how to treat belly button piercing infection as well as see some photos.
A navel piercing also known as belly button piercing can add charm to your belly button especially if you have a toned flat stomach you want to show off. However, if these piercings are not taken good care of, they could get infections and be troublesome. This does not apply to new piercing only since there are many cases of infected belly piercings after 6 months or even after years of complete healing.
Infected navel piercing rate, risks and dangers
The location of the navel, being in a dark and damp place, infections can be common especially if your navel is very deep. You expect to sweet as well as various substances to be deposited on your navel piercing. Despite all these, the infected navel piercing rate is fairly high i.e. in American, navel piercing is the most common accounting for about 33%. “Unfortunately, 31% of them have complications, 15.2% needed outpatient consultation, and 0.9% were even hospitalized for treatment”.
In terms of risks, navel piercing is the next most risky piercing after the eye as the navel piercing hole can be a gateway for infections reaching your abdominal cavities. As steadyhealth.com reports, “It is risky because needles used to pierce the skin can spread infections” because the ring will always touch your clothing.
Furthermore, there are inherent risks of injuries, belly button piercing scars, keloid formation, piercing rejection, stretch from weight gain or pregnancy, among other minor discomforts.
Is my belly button piercing infected? What caused it?
The most common causes of pierced navel infections include bacteria and allergic reactions. Fungi, yeast, and another pathogenic microorganism can also cause infections. These pathogens will tend to thrive if you create a favorable environment such as not clean your piercing regularly, touching it with dirty hands, poor personal hygiene, injuries, unsterilized piercing equipment, wrong piercing jewelry (in terms of size or material that cause allergies), among other things.
On average, a pierced belly button will take between 9 months to a year or even up to two years to heal completely. During this healing time, especially during the first few weeks, due diligence needs to be taken to avoid getting an infection. Follow the provided aftercare routine religiously and you will not have any of the problems, risks and dangers associated with this piercing type.
Signs of infected belly button piercing or infected nave piercing symptoms
When your pierced belly button gets an infection, you will expect some signs and symptoms. Depending on the cause of your infection, you will experience a number of signs and symptoms. Some of the common signs of infected belly piercing include:
- Tender, red and swollen navel piercing
- Discharge and pus oozing out especially yellowish or greenish pus (cellulitis) that can have a foul smell
- Abscess formation if your piercing has poor drainage
- Presence of bumps and bubbles
- Skin discoloration if the infection goes to a more advanced stage
- Bleeding in some cases
- Aching, throbbing pain and hot feeling when you touch the area
- Itchy rashes around the piercing site
- An enlarged belly button piercing hole
- Fever, stomach upsets, vomiting, and dizziness
These are not the only signs of infected navel piercing. The moment you notice anything abnormal or causing discomfort on your pierced belly button, find out what could be behind the discomfort.
Note that swelling, tenderness, aching, mild bleeding and redness might be normal for new piercings. However, they should last for the first few days after you have had your procedure.
Belly piercing infection during pregnancy or while pregnant
If you are pregnant and you have a navel piercing, you can still wear it until your 5th or 6th month of pregnancy. After that, you need to remove it. Alternatively, the moment you see your stomach skin beginning to stretch much due to your pregnancy, you should consider removing the piercing.
Once you give birth, do not start wearing it after you postpartum. Give yourself a couple of months before you can begin having it again.
Furthermore, you can also have a belly button piercing infection during pregnancy. Ensure you get early treatment since some medications cannot be taken while you are pregnant. In case you have an infected navel while pregnant, seek medical advice from your doctor before taking any of the medications that might be available to avoid dangerous side effects.
How to treat an infected belly button piercing or navel piercing, cure, heal
In this part, we are going to discuss the various ways to treat an infected belly piercing. They will include treatments, home remedies as well as medications to heal an infected belly button piercing. Ignoring an infected piercing can cause sepsis where the infection spreads to your blood. So what to do you do or how do you get rid of belly button piercing infections?
1. Sea salt soak (use of saline solution)
The first way to heal a navel piercing infection is to use a saline solution that you can prepare at home by adding half a teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of warm water. This solution can then be used in cleaning the infected piercing. The salt soak will be able to fight minor infections at their initial stages as well as stop new infections.
2. Use oral antibiotics
The second popular way to treat an infected belly piercing is by using prescribed antibiotics. This means you have to see a doctor first for a prescription. The doctor will be in the best position to advise you on which oral antibiotics or topical antibiotics you can use. Topical antibiotic creams commonly used include polymyxin B, bacitracin or Mupirocin.
Oral antibiotics are often recommended in the instance when the infection has spread beyond the piercing site and it is caused by bacteria. It is always a good idea to first see a doctor because at times, you could be thinking it is an infection yet it could be a navel or belly button piercing rejection.
3. Pain-relieving medications
If your navel piercing aches badly or causes a lot of pain, you can get a few non-prescribed medications (OTC) to help ease the pain as you continue with the treatment process. Try Acetaminophen, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen and Ibuprofen. Aspirin being a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug will also be helpful.
4. Apply cold pack
In case your infected belly button ring is bruised and swollen, apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel. Applying ice directly on your navel can damage tissues. This will help reduce bruising and swelling.
5. Warm compresses
Besides treatments, you can try some of the good belly button piercing home remedies. One such home remedy you should try is applying warm compresses. Using a clean piece of cloth, apply warm compresses on the infected area. Do this for about 5 minutes, several times a day. This will ensure proper drainage and fasten infected navel piercing healing process and it will increase blood flow to the navel.
6. Tea tree oil, lavender or emu oil
Tee tree oil, emu oil and lavender oil have natural healing agents you should give a try. You can apply a few drops of these oils especially after you have cleaned your piercing. This will ensure your navel piercing gets cured fast. Zinc, vitamin C and D will also speed up the healing process.
7. Do not remove infected belly ring
To reduce the chances of getting an infected belly button piercing abscess – is a collection of pus that has built up within the tissue of the body due to the piercing closing, do not remove your infected belly ring piercing. You can only remove it upon recommendation by professional health care or piercer especially when they notice that the belly button piercing infection is spreading or severe.
8. Avoid using any ointments
Going on with this discussion on how to treat an infected navel piercing, there is a big temptation of using over the counter antibiotic ointments on your piercing. Desist from using ointments since they tend to clog the piercing, as well as trap bacteria that might be causing the infection on to the piercing.
When this happens, the infected navel piercing healing process slows down and the infection might worsen or begin spreading to nearby areas. However, the use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown to affect healing.
9. Allergic reactions
As you are treating an infected navel piercing, you might end up with a rash on your piercing. This could be due to an allergic reaction either to the piercing or the cleaning agent you are using. The belly piercing rash might also be itchy. Stop using the cleansers you are using and ensure you are not allergic to the navel piercing ring you currently have.
Infected belly button piercing bubble and bumps
Sometimes you might end up with navel piercing bumps or bubbles. This is a sign on an infection and you need to treat them. There are many treatments that include applying aspirin, warm saline compresses, applying chamomile teabags, piercing solutions, and the use of tea tree oil.
Our experience and feedback from our readers have shown that most people tend to get the best and quick results with tea tree oil followed by the saline (sea salt + water) compresses. Piercing solutions have also been found helpful in getting rid of infected belly piercing bumps.
How to cleaning how to clean an infected belly piercing
We have looked at infected navel piercing treatments you could give a try. Most infections will disappear if you try some of these treatments. However, you also need to know how to clean an infected belly piercing and properly care for it. This will speed up the healing process and ensure there are no chances of reinfection or the spreading of the infection to areas around the piercing.
To clean an infected belly piercing, get your cleaning solution such as piercing solution, saline solution or even an antibacterial soap and cotton swabs, balls or Q-tip. Dip your cotton swabs or balls into cleaning solution and gently begin clean the area around your piercing, removing all discharge and debris that might have begun building up.
When you are done with cleaning, you should rotate your navel piercing about 3-4 times. Do this 3 to 4 times a day. Avoid over-cleaning since it can slow down the healing process.
It is advisable to also clean your piercing when taking a warm shower too. Use antibacterial soaps since they can help in fighting infections. However, you need to avoid perfumed soaps since they can easily irritate your piercing.
Care tips for an infected navel or belly piercing
We have looked at symptoms, treatments, and how to clean an infected nave piercing. It is time look at some of the good care tips that can ensure you heal quickly.
- Ensure you loosely bandage your piercing site and wear loose clothing to avoid injuring your already infected belly piercing ring. This will minimize chances of injuries that can cause bleeding.
- Your cleanser choice is important if you do now want to irritate the piercing site. For instance, red bumps on the piercing site, you should switch to milder cleansers as it could be causing the irritation.
- Always use gold and titanium jewelry and avoid nickel since it often causes allergic reactions.
- Do not use a towel in cleaning to avoid the ring getting stuck in the towel.
- Avoid using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide since it can cause crusting and skin dryness.
- Always sleep with your back to avoid your clothing from sticking to or touching your infected piercing.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes, the above navel or belly button piercing infection treatments and home remedies may not yield desired results or the infection might worsen. In such a case, you need to see a professional health care personnel. Furthermore, see a doctor immediately if you have a badly swollen navel, excessive pain, navel piercing infection bleeding or excessive discharge.
Applying pressure to the bleeding navel piercing is often recommended if it is caused by a minor injury. However, if it is a more serious case of bleeding, you need to see a doctor after first aid. A doctor will examine you and prescribe medications that will easily clear away the infection. He or she should also be able to advise you if you need to remove the infected belly rings.
I hope with this lengthy discussion, you now know how to fix an infected belly button piercing hole as well as how to know if your belly button piercing is infected or not.